A funny thing happened on the way to the courthouse

By Mir
May 23, 2012

I am not really sure how to tell this, so I guess I’ll start back at the beginning.

The first thing you need to know is that when my dad and stepmom decided to get married on our trip, they were thinking we would all just go to the Grand Canyon and then we’d find a pretty place and then my stepbrother (who is an experienced Dude Who Can Perform Marriages, Ordained By The Internet) would do a quick ceremony and we’d all continue on our hike or whatever. Apparently the last time they were there, they saw a couple being married there and thought it would be picturesque. Nice idea, yes?

Well, it turns out that if you want to get married at the Canyon, you need to get a PERMIT. And you have to pay for it, and they have all kinds of rules, and so it was decided in the name of Not Being Complicated that we would simply visit the Canyon, but have the wedding here at the rental house (which is plenty picturesque, too).

So. We all descended on the area on Saturday, went to the Grand Canyon on Sunday (so that we could see the solar eclipse from there), and planned to have the wedding early Monday afternoon. That would work out just fine, because Dad and Stepmom still needed to get a marriage license, and that meant we couldn’t have the wedding on Sunday, anyway.

“We’ll just run out and get the license in the morning,” my dad said, “and then we can have the ceremony after lunch.”

Breakfast on Monday was a veritable banquet; my brother’s girlfriend cooked a whole ton of food for everyone, and it was delicious. Most of the meal was spent with very little talking, as everyone was busy eating. But at one point, Otto asked my folks if they’d brought their divorce decrees with them. Of course they hadn’t, because really, it’s hard enough to pack for a trip when you can only have 3 ounces of shampoo, and by the way, who carries around a divorce decree?? But he was making a valid point—when we’d applied for our marriage license, I’d needed a copy of mine in order to get it. States set their own rules, though, and we were assured that Arizona doesn’t require that.

We finished eating, cleaned up, and then everyone dispersed to do various things (shower, etc.). Finally my father announced that they were leaving to get their license! And my brother and his girlfriend were taking them to the courthouse. I said “Have a good time!” and then went back to whatever it was I was doing (probably trying to stuff Gerber into my mouth and swallow him whole, because he is delicious).

About 45 minutes later, my cell phone rang. It was my brother, which was weird, because we almost never talk on the phone, and I’d just seen him, anyway.

“Hey, what’s up?” I said.

“I finally got someone on the phone, hang on,” I heard him say, not directly into the phone. “Hey,” he said, presumably to me.

“Everything okay?” I asked, already knowing something was not, and wondering how awful it was going to be if it turned out that they couldn’t get their marriage license because they lacked some piece of paperwork (divorce decree!) or something else.

“Not really,” he said. My brother is a man of few words. I am fairly accustomed to pulling information out of him, but I felt a small twinge of annoyance at this.

“What’s going on?” I pressed.

“Well, we were driving down the highway, and some guy decided to turn left in front of us. I mean, he was in the other lane. And then he turned, and there wasn’t any time to stop.”

“Wait. What??” I must’ve raised my voice, because Otto and my stepbrother and his wife—we’d all been sitting around here—all turned to look at me. “Are you OKAY?”

“Well, the car is totalled,” he continued.

“ARE YOU OKAY? Is everyone else okay??” I was still waiting for the punchline. Surprise, no car accident! But you need a notarized divorce decree for your license! Or… no car accident, but the courthouse burned down!

“Uhhh, well, the EMTs are here. We’re okay, I think, but we’re going to need to go to the hospital.”

The rest of the conversation (not that there was a lot) is a little hazy, but Otto and my stepbrother were dispatched to the scene, and the next four hours were spent texting back and forth with Otto to get updates.

Let me pause here to say that my brother had a Subaru, and I had a Subaru back when I had my awful crash, and I would like to give a shout-out to Subaru for doing a phenomenal job creating a car that yes, crumples up like an accordion on impact, but mostly keeps the people inside in one piece when that happens.

My brother’s girlfriend got the worst of it, it seemed, with a broken finger at the end of a very banged-up arm, as well as bruised ribs and other assorted bumps and bruises. My brother insisted he was fine (though the next day it became apparent he was HELLO, not fine, and a trip back to the hospital revealed he’s rocking a concussion), my father said he was “a little sore,” and my stepmom got some nasty whiplash to go with her bumps and bruises.

I was at home with the kids and my stepbrother’s wife and kids and we tried to keep the little ones entertained while waiting for texts and discussing in hushed voices whether or not they’d still want to do the wedding that day. Surely not. But once everyone was discharged from the ER, I got one more text from Otto: “Heading to the courthouse. Everyone has been cleared.”

They arrived home shortly thereafter, moving rather slow, looking a little worse for wear, and it was very hard not to hug everyone extra-hard, seeing as how we didn’t want to make the hurty parts hurt even more.

So did they want to proceed that same day? They did. It could’ve been worse, you know… so much worse, and no one said how much worse, but we were all thinking it. Dad looked around, looked at his watch, and said, “Well, what if we do it at about 5?”

And we did.

It was a lovely wedding. If you need an Internet Ordained Guy to marry you, I highly recommend my stepbrother—he does a hell of a ceremony. My stepmom looked radiant and my dad… well, after the ceremony we came inside to open a bottle of champagne. I think my dad is pretty much the working definition of joy in the moment, no?

Dad also announced that he was certain their marriage would be smooth sailing, as it had already been “pre-disastered.” Y’all, I don’t think that man’s glass is half full… I think it’s always full. Impossibly so.

So my folks are finally legal, and a lot of painkillers are being consumed here. And for the record, I thought their relationship was a great object lesson to all of us even BEFORE they nearly got killed and then dusted themselves off and had their wedding anyway. Now I know they’re both complete badasses.

And JUST TO BE PERFECTLY CLEAR, I made sure to 1) congratulate the happy couple, 2) tell them that I love them, and 3) point out that while I appreciate the blog fodder, if nothing this “exciting” ever happened again that would really be perfectly okay by me.


  1. StephLove

    Wow. What a wedding story. Mazel tov to your folks. And thank goodness no-one was hurt worse.

  2. Leandra

    Aw, you made me cry. That picture of your dad makes me really happy. And I love “pre-disastered.”

  3. CIndy

    LOVE the pic of your dad. Very happy and the flower he’s rocking is totally awesome. What a great story for everyone involved!

  4. Amy

    Oh how joyous your dad looks in that picture!! Yay for Dad!!!

  5. Midj

    Congratulations and Best Wishes to the happy couple. Love a man whose glass is always full! Here’s to many years of wedded bliss!

  6. el-e-e

    What a love story!! Congratulations to the happy couple and thank Goodness for a very happy ending!! You look like your Dad. :)

  7. Sara

    So glad there was a happy ending to their beginning! Also, I still have a (non-stalkerish, non-creepy) crush on your dad. Love his outlook and the sparkle in his eyes. Here’s to a blog-fodder free finish to the vacation!

  8. Bob

    Wow. you really look like your dad. (I’m glad you didn’t inherit his hairline, though.)

    I like his boutonniere.

  9. Arnebya

    Now THAT is a memorable wedding story. I wish it weren’t because of a stupid driver (flashing back to my own and reading about yours). Calm and quiet and pre-disaster is just fine, sheesh.

  10. victoria

    Like Bob, I was also loving the boutonniere. That is one fantastic photo! And I agree with you, his cup (must) runnith over! Very happy for the (new) couple :)

  11. diane

    Oh my god, Mir, forgive me, but all the way through I just kept thinking “Only you! Only your family! I swear”!
    So grateful everyone is okay and your Dad is just adorable. Don’t parents get so cute as they get older? ;)

  12. emily

    Best Wishes for the happy couple! I’m so glad everyone was as OK as you can be coming out of a crash like that. Let’s hope that never happens again.

    Beautiful picture of your Dad – I love seeing people so happy and in love :).

  13. Stacy

    I’m so glad everyone turned out to be “okay”. And congratulations to the happy couple. I love that picture of your dad and I really like his flower.

  14. Tenessa

    Congrats! I’m so glad everything turned out fine if a mite exciting.

  15. Navhelowife

    Best Wishes all around!

  16. amy

    Oh man, my heart is in my throat and my eyes are full of tears. SO SO thankful they are okay, and what a way to celebrate their lives than to join them together. Congratulations to them! You are in a family of Fighters, that’s for sure! Hugs (soft, gentle non-hurty hugs!) to all of you!

  17. margaret

    Your dad is just as cute as he can be! Mazel tov! Tell him I said congratulations, but not if there is any chance of him taking it in a stalker kind of way or if he doesn’t remember meeting me in February.

    Please have a relaxing, uneventful rest of your trip, okay?

  18. Jess

    Congratulations to Mir’s dad and stepmom, and I’m glad you weren’t seriously injured on your wedding day!

    (Is there a greeting card for that?)

  19. Julie

    Congratulations! So happy that everyone was okay after the accident and how wonderful that they wanted to go ahead with the wedding!!

  20. Karen

    Wonderful ending.. Thank the powers that be for everyone’s relatively safe return. Jeez.

    And.. you are officially a southern belle now that y’all are throwing that word out there comfortably. Y’all have a great time now – enjoy. :-)

  21. meghann @ midgetinvasion

    SO glad everyone is ok!

    (Also really glad that Arizona’s laws are different than Texas, where we got married. Three day waiting period between applying for a license and it being legal, there. Or at least it was that way almost 13 years ago when we attempted to elope.)

  22. Alison C

    So glad that everyone was okay after that.

    Love the picture of your Dad. Lots of love and luck to the happy couple

  23. {sue}

    No seriously. You have to be making this up. Except I know the part about the Suburu is true because my husband totalled ours too and he only scratched his pinky.

    Mazel tov, Mir’s dad and Mir’s stepmom! I’m going to wrap the entire Mir Extended Family in antibacterial bubble wrap.

  24. Rachel

    Sounds like a great story to tell for years & years. Congrats to them!

  25. Leah

    Wow. All my congratulations to them! Gorgeous pic. And hey, mad props to Subaru.

  26. Katie in MA

    Just when I think it is completely unpossible for you to make us love your dad even more…


    Congrats to the happy couple! May your marriage be long & happy, pre-disastered such as it is. ;)

  27. Ani

    Congrats to all, and may the rest of your trip be utterly uneventful. :-)

  28. Brigid

    This story followed by the photo of your dad made me teary. Best wishes to the new/old/longtime/slightly-jostled/totally-badass couple.

  29. chrystal

    I don’t think I have ever commented before but today I just had to! First, congratulations to your parents on their wedding, and it’s especially awesome that everyone was healthy enough to travel!!! Second, I was at the Grand Canyon on Sunday FOR A WEDDING! We thought the couple was being so unique, and it turns out, not so much!

  30. Mom

    I am so unbelievably grateful to the Universe for being alert and taking care of us all in that critical moment. My hands are still shaking after hearing all the horrible details from your brother. Needless to say (after seeing the photos of his car), it was pronounced a total loss by the insurance company just moments ago. That is a good thing – at least he will get to shop for a new car, as this one was only months old.

    My heart is full with all the good news that came out of this wretched incident – everyone is all right and the happy couple had their special day. Love and Mazeltov to them and best wishes for a thousand years together.


  31. Fabs

    Sweet! You’ll all have a great story to tell. Love the picture of you dad, such a beautiful smile and a cute flower thingy-majig on his coat!

  32. Kelly Allan

    Wow. The wedding of the century. Is there ANY wedding that doesn’t have some funny/tragic/heartbreaking story attached to it? When I got married, I wore a wedding dress that I paid $100 bucks for and Hubby donned a shirt that said, Drinks Well With Others. True story. Sounds like I have a blog post idea…

  33. Annie

    Great story, great couples, great news all around. And I didn’t get teary until the comment from Mom. So nice to see a good ex-relationship . By they way, I’m in Scottsdale if you need to stop by…..that eclipse was something else, huh?

  34. Jamie

    Oy! What a day! Congratulations and best wishes to the Mir-parents. Let’s hope for a relaxing remainder of the vacation together!!

  35. Em

    That was the most heart stopping wedding story I ever read. I am so glad everyone is alright and there is to be only happiness ahead. Congratulations to the bride and groom!

  36. Karen R.

    Mazel tov to the very happy couple. All’s well that ends well?

  37. Scottsdale Girl

    POOPY on the accident. :(

    And this post made me smile through tears. I ADORE the picture and it got me right in the heart

  38. Beth in IA

    Glad everyone is OK and Congratulations and best wishes, Mir’s Dad & Stepmom. He’s just as adorable as I imagined from his comments.

  39. Carolie

    That photo of your dad? It made me weep with joy. Congratulations and mazel tov to the happy couple!

  40. Melissa

    Well now I am crying at work. Congratulations and big virtual hugs all around!

  41. Lucinda

    So glad everyone is ok. Worst car accident of my life was in a Subaru. Head-on collision and we all walked away. Yes, they make a good car!

  42. TC

    Have we never seen a pic of Dad before? We love Dad! We’re so happy for him! Mazel tov to you all, and so so so so glad it all turned out OK. (Though make sure your bro gets good followup care; concussions can be sneaky bastards.)

  43. lily

    Congrats to the newlyweds! It makes me happy and hopeful to know of couples who have been devoted to each other for such a long time.

  44. liz

    My eyes are all puddle-y now.

  45. Anna

    There is no doubt now that your dad is awesome. And handsome! Mazel tov to the lovely, resilient couple. May your vacation be hearafter uneventful!

  46. Birchsprite

    Aww so sweet and what a great family you have! Many congrats to the happy couple!

  47. charlotte media

    I am so sorry that happened and relieved everyone is ok. You almost made me cry like a baby. 3 days before my wedding my grandparents were in a car accident. Another car made an illegal u turn into them. My grandmother was hurt pretty bad and they were unable to attend my wedding. I wish everyone would be more careful when they drive. Hope the worst is behind your folks and you for that matter.

  48. Sheila

    Happy endings are the BEST.

  49. Jen

    Dear God. Mazel tov to the happy couple and UNIVERSE! Cut Mir a break for the love…

  50. Jeanie

    Congrats to your dad and stepmom. I’m glad everyone was okay after the accident. Nothing like a little excitement on your wedding day.

  51. Beth R

    I’m crying in the airport here… SOOOO glad everyone is/will be ok! Congratulations, Mir’s Dad and Stepmom! That’s one happy looking guy there :)

  52. Another Dawn

    Dang, he’s cute! Too bad he’s married.


    Sort of…

    Seriously, so glad they’re all alright. You just never know what life’s gonna throw at you from day to day.

  53. Lisa R.

    What a catch! I can see where you get your good looks!

  54. Heidi

    Oh, hooray for happy endings! I have a soft spot in my heart for your dad (favorite shot: dad and Monkey walking together, photo taken from behind). May they live happily ever after.

  55. Natasha

    I love you. I love your family. I’m deeply happy for you all.

  56. Lara

    Oy! I think number three should be a general shout out to the universe, no more “excitement” for your family already!! So glad to hear that everyone is, for the most part, ok. Congrats to the happy couple!!

  57. elz

    First, Congrats Mir’s Dad and finally legal stepmom. Second, Boy Howdy, do you look like your dad. Third, didn’t you all end up at the hospital last time you visited them? It seems that visting your family is a little bit dangerous, my dear!

  58. Nancy R

    Congrats to the newlyweds! So glad everyone is ok.

  59. Heather

    Too cute! I love how happy your dad looks, and I totally love that I can see how his features show up in you.

  60. E's Mommy

    That’s so scary, I’m so glad no one was hurt really badly! Congratulations to your Dad and Stepmom on their wedding. And your father is completely adorable in that picture.

  61. crazyjane

    Am I the only one who got to the part about your brother and his girlfriend going with them to the courthouse and immediately thought the ‘funny thing’ was going to be an extra wedding? Yes? Hmm… Well that would have been a happier surprise.

    Glad everything turned out well and congrats all around!

  62. brigitte

    Oh, goodness, what everyone else said. I guess, for multiple reasons, this is one trip you’ll NEVER forget!

  63. Nelson's Mama

    Congratulations! Love his picture :)

    Glad the story turned out well and will always be a great one to tell…

  64. Aimee

    Wow, I’m SO relieved everybody is okay! Big huge congratulations and speedy healing to all!

    I love that picture of your dad. You have his smile, and it’s a great one :)

  65. Megan

    Congratulations! And way to make sure that the wedding was absolutely, positively, without ANY DOUBT, the best thing that happened that day!

    Love the photo of MirsDad, and yes that family smile is the epitome of joy.

  66. Sharon

    Holy crap- so glad everyone is okay! Congratulations to your mom and dad!!!

  67. Chris

    I know I am a little late but I have to add my congratulations to the happy couple and pile on the comments of 1) how cute your dad is and 2) how you look like him in all the best ways.

    Thanking the powers that be that this had a happy ending!

  68. Cele

    Picture greatly appreciated, I’ve always enjoyed your father, but really now he and his wife are inspirational.

  69. Pam

    First, so glad everyone is ok. Second, Congrats to the newly married couple!!! and Third!!!! Your Dad is very very very handsome!!!!! What a catch he is. So glad to finally see a picture of him as he always makes me smile when he comments on your blog. Take care y’all and glad it all turned out ok. God bless….

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